10+ Things to Do in Chattanooga, TN
Chattanooga, Tennessee — beautiful mountains, waterfalls, and some of the best southern hospitality you’ll ever experience. You can explore nature, eat some of the most delicious food or just relax in a cabin while looking out at the amazing view. There is something for the whole family in beautiful Chattanooga, Tennessee. And here’s what you need to know about this fun and friendly city.
Why is Chattanooga worth visiting?
Chattanooga is a walkable city that offers so many cool places to hang out with friends, learn something new, or have an adventure you’ll never forget.
Hiking, biking, rock climbing, water sports, and plenty of delicious food mean you’ll never run out of things to do when you visit Chattanooga.
Things to do in Chattanooga, TN
1) Take a Walk Over the Tennessee River
Snaking beautifully 652 miles, the Tennesse River makes its way through the beautiful city of Chattanooga.
One of the best places to walk over the Tennessee River is on the Walnut St. Bridge. Built in 1981, it is one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world at 2,376 feet long.
On this bridge, you can go from downtown Chattanooga to North Shore — and you can bring your pup because it is now dog-friendly.
2) Enjoy a Hike in Nature
If you want to enjoy nature and really feel like you’ve stepped into another world, then a hike is what you should do. Whether you want something easy or you’re up for a challenge, there are plenty of blow-your-mind hikes around Chattanooga, Tennessee.
- South Chickamauga Creek Greenway Trail – 13 miles point to point – Easy
- Bluff Trail – 5 mile loop – Moderate
- Rainbow Lake Trail to Bee Branch Trail – 2.2 mile loop – Moderate
The South Chickamauga Creek Greenway Trail is wheelchair accessible, allows you to bring your dog (on a leash), and is commonly used for biking, skating and jogging.
Bluff Trail takes you along the rim of Lookout Mountain with a stop at Sunset Rock, Ochs Gateway, and Judith’s Bluff.
Rainbow Lake Trail to Bee Branch Trail takes you to another awesome location — Signal Mountain. Here you’ll find Rainbow Lake Falls. Despite it’s name, it’s not really a waterfall, it’s just a spillover from the dam on Rainbow Lake going down into Middle Creek. This is a beautiful spot to cool off.
3) Visit the Tennessee Aquarium
Whether you’re looking for amphibians, birds, butterflies, fish, mammals, or reptiles, you can find so many cool creatures at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
In addition to the neat creatures, you can also experience a super cool IMAX viewing that makes you feel like you’re up close with your favorite sea creatures, lions, and more.
4) Soak Up Some Culture at the Hunter Museum of American Art
Are you an art lover visiting Chattanooga?
Visiting the Hunter Museum of American Art will allow you to not only view awesome art pieces, but one might argue that the actual building is also a piece of art.
The museum is perched on the river bluffs, and the mix of steel and glass (as well as a super cool mansion) is sure to capture your attention. Their 19th and 20th-century art collection will keep you inside, but good luck getting past the beauty of the exterior in time to see everything. You might need more time.
5) Check Out the Sculpture Fields at Montague Park
This 33-acre international sculpture park is free and open to the public and supported only by donations.
If you’re looking for some peace and quiet and want to mix nature with art then this is an amazing place to achieve that wish. These huge pieces of art are all totally outdoors, and there are over 40 large-scale sculptures at Montague Park in Chattanooga.
6) Stroll Through Songbirds Guitar and Pop Culture Museum
Songbirds Guitar and Pop Culture Museum has so many awesome celebrity guitars to view, but it also has hands-on exhibits that allow true music lovers to experience music history in a very close-up way.
If you come at the right time, you could also catch a concert and enjoy some local music to discover your new favorite artist.
7) Learn about Historical Events By Visiting The Passage
The passage is a beautiful place to remember the errors of our past. At The Passage, you’ll visit part of the Trail of Tears.
This pedestrian link between the Tennessee River and downtown Chattanooga is a permanent outdoor exhibit that is meant to remember the seven clans of the Cherokee Nation. You can visit the weeping wall that represents the tears shed as the Cherokee were driven from their homes and removed from the area.
8) Tour Chattanooga in a Trolley
Hop on the trolley to see beautiful Chattanooga with Chattanooga Trolley Tour.
If you’re the type that likes someone to guide you through the history of the area while you’re checking out the cool sites, then this is the perfect activity for you.
Not only will you get to see this awesome historic city, but you’ll get the details from local, experienced tour guides — and you get to ride on a super cool trolley.
Some of the spots you’ll hit:
- Chickamauga battlefield
- Blunt house
- Huff house
- Chatsworth Depot
- Wright hotel
9) Shop at Hamilton Place Mall
You won’t run out of shopping at Hamilton Place Mall in Chattanooga. There are over 200 specialty stores and restaurants for your shopping and eating pleasure.
If you need some retail therapy, you can definitely find it here with over one million square feet shopping space. This two-story mall has five department stores to go along with the other smaller spots, so you can visit your favorites and find new spots that can become your new favorites.
10) Hang Tight at High Point Climbing and Fitness Center
High Point Climbing and Fitness Center is one of the newer attractions in Chattanooga but that doesn’t mean it isn’t beloved already.
Climbing fans can decide to climb inside or outdoors. If you’re brave enough, they even have a climbing wall that is 60 feet tall.
High Point is actually one of the nation’s largest gyms, with over 28,000 sq ft of climbing surface.
If you don’t feel confident in your climbing skills, you can take a lesson from one of the professional climbers that can train beginners all the way up to those needing advanced techniques to proceed.
11) Stare in Awe at Ruby Falls
Ruby Falls is a natural landmark. It is the tallest and deepest underground waterfall that you can visit in the United States.
You can choose to just look, but if you want a bit more adventure, you can enjoy the zip lines while you’re there as well.
If you’ve never seen stalagmites and stalactites or flowstone, you’re in for a treat. And let’s not forget the waterfall light show.
12) Enjoy Scrumptious Cuisine at the Best Restaurants
Taco Mamacita will draw you in with its taco fusion. The house-made nachos and Peruvian chicken is a must-try.
Community Pie offers traditional New York-style and Detroit-style pizza. And for you craft cocktail and craft beer lovers, you can’t miss this. You can choose to takeout food or enjoy the seating in this laid-back and fun atmosphere.
Pickle Barrel isn’t going anywhere. It’s been a staple of the community since 1982 and is the go-to spot for burgers, sandwiches — and some pretty amazing fried pickles.
Public House not only makes your mouth water but their artistically prepared food and drink make you feel like you’ve come to a food museum. They also showcase the local spirits, farms, and hospitality, which makes it a unique Chattanooga experience.
Our Take on Chattanooga
As you can see, there is a lot to do and see in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Actually, you might need more than one vacation to see all of the fun and enlightening things to do in this amazing city.
Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or foodie, this is the perfect place for your next getaway. Relax and enjoy yourself or get out and have some adventure in beautiful Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Come check it out for yourself.